Thursday, March 22, 2012

22/03/12 A visit to Bird Island

This past weekend a bunch of us volunteers and a couple staff members headed to Bird Island. We left base around lunch time on Thursday to catch a half hour flight needed to get to the island. Once we got off the grass runway and had our brief orientation at reception we had all afternoon to settle into our bungalows before an eight o’clock buffet style dinner. That afternoon a few of us decided to go snorkeling, we didn’t see much other than a group of nine two and a half meter long nurse sharks which some of us found we could get unnervingly close to. After our snorkel and dinner we proceeded to have a few drinks on the beach under a sky blanketed from horizon to horizon with stars and zero light pollution.

The next morning after breakfast we were given a nature walk by Robin the island’s on site conservationist. During the walk we were shown the various birds that nest and live on the island plus some of the islands other inhabitants like the giant tortoises. At the end of our walk Robin had us check a Hawksbill sea turtle nest and sure enough when he removed the first layer of sand there were turtle hatchlings sitting there waiting for dark before they attempted their mad dash for the ocean. So he had us dig up all 109 hatchlings and put them into a bucket to be released that evening. After the nature walk and turtle excitement some of us decided to walk around the island, while others decided to sunbathe on the beach.

The next morning after another great dinner and drinks on the beach we got up early for a boat ride to try and see some Spinner Dolphins. And did we ever see some dolphins, there was a pod of about eighty which we came across and at one point you didn’t know where to look because they were surfacing and jumping on all sides of the boat. After the dolphins and breakfast we relaxed for a while on our porches before we went snorkeling again. This time instead of nurse shark we decided to snorkel with some baby Black Tip Reef Sharks. That kept us busy until before and after lunch and almost caused some of our group to miss the plane ride back to Mahe and base. So all n’ all it was a half decent weekend which has kept a smile on our faces all week.

On another note this week GVI is putting on a charity and fundraising event for the President’s Village Orphans. The main event happens on Thursday in which all the volunteers are involved, but donations will be accepted for another four weeks. Our goal is to raise £1000 for the kids. If you want to help here is the link for the charity donations page: